Let’s face it, when cold weather comes around most of us want to hibernate. It’s not much fun going out in the cold to ride, especially if it is wet out. And in Statesville, North Carolina it seems all we have is wet winters. Cold one day, warm the next, plus rain…… Shorter days, yucky weather…who’s gonna ride, right? Me that’s who.
I go out everyday and get on a horse unless it is pouring down rain. If it just sprinkles, I put on a rain coat and ride anyway. The horses don’t mind and actually they would rather have something to do than stand in the stall or the moisture all day. How many people do you think let their horses stand all winter with very little exercise then expect them to be ready for riding in the summer months when we always want to take advantage of the long days of sunshine and warm weather? About 80% of us I would guess. Unless you have your horse in training it is doubtful they will be ready for those long trail rides in the summer. And who wants to get on an out-of-shape horse that is lax in their training and struggle with getting them to do what they have been trained to do, but clearly balks at the aids because they have had it ‘good’ all winter just standing around? Most of us want to get on and go, so…
Winter is absolutely the best time of year to pick up an extra month or two of training to keep your horse fit. Reinforce those cues he has learned or teach him something new. The more a horse learns in communication with a human the better the ride you will have. Even high strung horses can be ridden confidently if they know what is expected of them. The better trained a horse is, they more they learn to depend on the rider for cues and security, therefore, less likely to spook or run away.
Consider putting your horse in training over the winter months and be ready for the riding season that will be upon us quick enough. Contact me for monthly and partial month fees on keeping your horse fit, training for trail riding and cues from the rider. After training I always make sure the owner knows what the horse has been taught so they can continue the process and have a safer ride.